'The Funniest Joke in the World' is a famous extended sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus, concerning a lethal joke which supposedly caused havoc during WW2. The joke itself is "Wenn ist das Nunstrück git und Slotermeyer? Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!". The sketch was at the end of 'Wither Canada?', the second episode of the first series, broadcast in October 1969.

'Monty Python - The First 200 Years' reveals that it's a mixture of genuine German and gibberish, but not what it actually means. My rusty knowledge of German and Babelfish later, I can state with wobbling uncertainty that one possible English translation might be:

"If is the now-struck git and slotmaster? Yes! Behind-dog it or the flipper-forest kaput!"

(Inebriated Poet kindly points out that 'Oder', capitalised as in the first writeup, is a river in Germany (in which case the above translation would go '...dog it Oder the flipper-forest..' which, as I'm sure you will appreciate, gives the joke a new and sinister slant)

Which appears to be something to do with pinball. According to a native German speaker in the alt.monty-python faq a more strictly accurate translation would be:

If is the now-piece (git) and (Slotermeyer)? Yes! (Beiher)dog that or the pinball wood (gersput)!

I hope that makes more sense.

Monty Python aside, British scientists have actually found the funniest joke in the world. Seriously. Scientists spent years studying over 40,000 jokes and ranking each of them through careful testing and monitoring of the brain when the test subject read the joke.

Here, now, is the joke. Read at your own risk.

Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps: "My friend is dead! What can I do?" The operator says: "Calm down, I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead." There is a silence, then a shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says: "OK, now what?"

So why is that joke the funniest? Scientists said that while other jokes did score higher, this joke was the one that scored well among many people young, old, male, female, and among all races. This joke has universal appeal.

Now, let's get to work on developing it as a weapon.


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